Post # 1
So we’ve been trying to keep our guest count lower to give us a chance to enjoy the company of our guests without having to rush around shaking hands and greeting all evening. We’re trying to do the "normal" thing where all aunts, uncles and cousins are invited, and this works fine for his family and the mom’s side of my family. The only problem is that my dad’s side of the family is HUGE. He was one out of 16 kids! This means that I have about 30-odd aunts and uncles on the one side alone, and around 35 cousins. Most of these cousins (all but five) are significantly older than me, are married and have children of their own. In order to keep the guest count under control, I’m planning on only inviting the cousins from my dad’s side (and their families) that are around my age, or come to family functions on a regular basis. The cousins that don’t fall into these categories are people I don’t really know and would probably not even recognize if I were to run into them. Is it incredibly rude not to invite them?
Oh, and not inviting children in an attempt to lower numbers isn’t really an option — most of my fiance’s cousins are still children, and people will need to travel far so getting sitters and stuff would be a tremendous burden. Plus kids at weddings can be fun.
Post # 4
My mom was one of 12, my step dad one of 5 and my dad one of 6 – I totally understand the "too many relatives" thing. I in the end invited them all, and found the ones that normally didn’t attend family functions did not RSVP they were coming. My count stayed low, I’m able to enjoy my guests and no one was hurt in the process of not getting an invite.
Post # 6
Thanks for the feedback so far. This is one of my biggest concerns, so your comments are very much appreciated!
In response to TallBride — Everyone’s coming from out of town, nearly all from out of state (we moved away and are having the wedding closer to where we live), so the odds of everyone showing are very slim. But if I bank on that and everyone comes, I may have a mental (and financial) breakdown. (!)
Post # 7
I’m in a similar situation. My mom has 9 siblings, and about half of them were really involved with my life growing up, and the other half lived out of state and I just never grew close to them (and a few are kind of messed up in substance abuse). Now we live out of state, and have been trying to figure out if we should invite none of her siblings, half of her siblings, or all of them. Even though proper ettiquitte dictates that you should invite either all or none, not half, we’ve gone with our hearts and are inviting those I’m close with.
We’re only inviting a total of around 60 people to our wedding, and can’t imagine not having some of my aunts there- they’re like my big sisters. Even though we’re paying for almost everything ourselves, I had conversations with my mom, because I wanted her to be okay with my decision and didn’t want to create a family rift. She is really understanding. I think it helps that most of them are from out of state- it would be MUCH more difficult to pull it off if they were all living in the same town or nearby.
Post # 8
We had to limit relatives, too. On his side, it was easy to invite everyone… his mom has one sibling, so does his dad, so that made 4 people there, and his 2 grandparents. Nice…
On my side, I come from large families. Grandparents wanted to make sure all of their siblings children would be invited, and that would have made over a hundred with their kids. Therefore, first cousins for me only, then the great aunts and uncles, and that was it. No 2nd cousins, etc. Also, no children under 13 period, except the flowergirl. Some people weren’t happy at first, but I think they all understood!
Post # 9
I had a similar issue — we went ahead and invited everyone — our totals ended up like this: 118 yes, 129 no, 2 no responses.
The cost of travel and time off of work were the reasons given for not coming. My family on the east coast is sending "representatives" instead of the entire family. Older cousins and younger cousins that I have never spent any time with simply are not coming because they do not know me.
We also did not send out a save the date — I think this made a big difference in our counts because people were only given 2 months to plan ahead for travel. We did send out a christmas card with our engagement announcement on it, but it didn’t have a date.
Your mom and dad (and your future in laws) should be able to get a "Feel" for who will and will not come. Use that to help make your decision.
Post # 10
I don’t think it’s rude…especially if you see them so rarely that you wouldn’t even recognize on the street.
I’m in a similar situation. My parents each have 7 siblings, so I have lots of cousins. We are having a smallish wedding (100 guests). I’m inviting all of my aunts and uncles (even though there are a few that I would rather not see at my wedding b/c they are rude and selfish people who I haven’t seen in over 15 years). They only recently came around (within the last year) and apologized to my mom for how they’ve treated her and asked to be given a chance to be a family again. So I don’t know any of their kids and I don’t want to invite them. I’m only inviting counsins that I’m actually friends with and grew up with…it’s created some friction, but I would be incredibly unhappy to cut other guests who are meaningful to us for some cousins that I don’t know.
Post # 11
My mom was one of 9, so our "family" guest list was also huge. I thought that the cousins I hadn’t seen for years wouldn’t come, but *surprise* most of them did. It did make for a lot of people, but they all had a lot of fun – and got to spend time with each other. Frankly, unless you’re limiting your guest list to less than 50, I don’t think you’re really going to spend much time with each guest anyway. They will mostly hang with each other, and that’s disappointing (to me, anyway) but apparently it’s quite normal. It’s pretty clear that all our guests had a great time, even the ones we didn’t hardly get to talk to, so we’re pretty glad we invited them all.
Post # 12
So, I’ve got all the invites addressed according to the plan above, and I’m still feeling like a bad bride. Emily Post would be furious! But we budgeted for 100, and the best estimate I have puts us at about 106 coming, so I’m nervous to invite any more than the 185 we already are.
Should I just bite the bullet and take them to the post office?
Post # 13
I had a similar situation in making up the guest list. My dad is one of 8, and all of his siblings have many children. We wanted to keep our guest list around 125 and still be able to invite our friends and of course my fiance’s family.
I invited all my aunts and uncles. I did not invite all my first cousins. This was partially due to the fact that I only see some of these cousins once every few years and partially because some of them are married with children. Therefore one cousin turns into 4 or 5 guest when you count spouse and children.
I did not feel bad at all. I am doing what I can on the budget that I have. Plus that side of the family already takes up more of the invite list than any other group.
Also, I did send out Save-the-Dates, so that I could hopefully deal with any hurt feelings, etc… early on. And I have actually not gotten one comment.